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7.23.2017

My Daughter's Legacy ~ Review

My Daughter's Legacy
Cousins of the Dove #3
By Mindy Starns Clark
     and Leslie Gould

The Cousins of the Dove series concludes with this the final book in the series My Daughter's Legacy. Once again we are on reading journey that follows the Talbot family as they make a home for themselves while holding true to their faith and their convictions both in the past and the present day.

This time we go from 1864 Virginia during the final months of the Civil War and present day Virginia. The Talbots of today are learning more about the legacy that was left to them by those who came before. And the days of slavery made an impact upon the family as they stood by their belief that all should be free - but war has drawn them in and as citizens of Virginia are expected to do their part in defending their way of life. Therese Jenning's always thought Michael Talbot was the man who she would marry, but when he returns home to fight for the South she is uncertain if he was truly who she thought he was. And while Michael proves to be a disappointment to her faith and values, his cousin from Boston, Alec Talbot seems to hold to the same values that she does. But a future with Alec means leaving everything and everyone she has ever known behind.

Meanwhile, the Talbot cousins of present day Virginia are preparing for yet another Talbot family reunion. This reunion will be the first that Nicole has attended in several years - since before her grandfather's death. But she is finally in control of her life and avoiding her former lifestyle with the help she has received, but the past can still be a temptation. And the investigation of the murder that occurred years ago has seemingly stalled. Can the secret that Nicole has been keeping all these years make a difference? Or will it destroy the legacy of the Talbot family?

My Daughter's Legacy is a delightful mix of mystery, history, and romance that will capture the reader's attention from the first page. The historical portion of the story does not depend on reading the previous books in the series, but for the present day portion reading the previous books is highly recommended. The shift in focus is noted by the character name that heads each chapter - so the reader is not left with guessing though it should be fairly obvious as to which time period is being focused on.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher Harvest House with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


About the Book:

Women of Strong Conviction


Virginia, 1864. Therese Jennings's immediate family has never owned slaves—until her estranged maternal grandfather dies during the Civil War and leaves his slaves to them in his will. Upset with her widowed mother's plan to accept this appalling inheritance, Therese flees the family estate in rural Virginia and heads to Richmond. As she works by day and volunteers by night, she finds herself drawn to a handsome doctor. But how can she pursue the longings of her heart when the world she has always known is falling apart around her?

Virginia, Present Day. Nicole Talbot is finally on track and doing well after years of substance abuse. Thanks to a car accident that nearly took her life and ended up saving it instead, she has managed to get sober and stay that way. Now she's back in college, pursuing a degree in social work, with her wealthy grandmother picking up the tab. But there are strings attached, and when Nicole is forced to choose between honoring those strings and doing something she knows is right, she risks losing not just the financial backing of her grandmother but the trust and support of her entire family. Meanwhile, Nicole struggles to hide a growing attraction to her new boss, a man who is off limits in more ways than one.

My Daughter's Legacy presents a thrilling tale of two women, centuries apart, who are forced to move beyond their past mistakes, make difficult choices, and open their hearts to true love at last.

7.21.2017

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island ~ Review

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island
        Maude's Mooring
By Carrie Fancett Pagels

Maude Welling is determined to convince her father to allow her to take over the family's inn - one that has been in her mother's family for generations. But her father is insistent that she be married before taking over the Winds of Mackinac Inn in any capacity. But Maude's hopes for marriage are soon dashed with her intended's change of heart. But Maude is determined to prove to her father that she can handle the responsibilities by taking a position with their competition as a maid. But working as a maid isn't as easy as it appears.

Meanwhile, Ben Steffans has come to Mackinac on assignment - pretend he is a man of means while searching out prospectors who are in pursuit of well-to-do heiresses who will elevate not only their social standing but their economic standing as well. Ben's biggest obstacle to fleshing out his story - finding island locals willing to talk to an outsider.

But more is going on at this summer destination than anyone could possibly imagine and before long Maude and Ben find themselves caught up in the stories that they have woven. But when the truth comes out will the damages be too great to undo or will these two hurting people discover that there was something better for them all along?

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude's Mooring is a delightful escape into a time, while not simpler, that was less encumbered by technology. What's fun about this book is that my great-great-grandmother lived not too far from here at the time - it is interesting to know what her world was like. So if you like sweet historical fiction with a dash of romance and mystery thrown in give this one a look-see.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions expressed are my own.  


About the Book:
Although the Winds of Mackinac Inn has been in her mother’s family for generations, Maude Welling’s father refuses to let her run it without the guidance of a husband. So she seeks to prove her worth and independence by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel.

Undercover journalist Ben Steffans, posing as a wealthy industrialist, pursues a story about impoverished men chasing heiresses at the famed hotel. While undercover, he becomes attracted to an intriguing maid. By an act of heroism Ben endears himself to the closed-mouthed islanders—including Maude—and he digs deep for his story.

But when scandal threatens, will the growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed?

7.18.2017

The Separatists ~ Review

The Separatists
A Newsmakers Novel #3
By Lis Wiehl
      with Sebastian Stuart

Journalist Erica Sparks is ready to embark on a new chapter in her life. The Erica Sparks Show is still a network darling with GNN and she wants more journalistic endeavors at the network. And she has the perfect idea - a once a month in-depth topic driven show.

First up for Erica - the growing secessionist movements throughout the nation and specifically Take Back Our Homeland out of North Dakota. Erica is driven to succeed and unfortunately, her personal life is taking a hit. Her marriage with Greg is shaky and each added success delivers a hit. And then there is Jenny who seems to be caught in the middle of Erica's success - she uses it to her advantage while disdaining its intrusion into her life while dealing with typical tween issues.

But when Erica gets a phone call that someone needs to talk to her about something very important - something that may have to do with the Take Back Our Homeland movement - things start to go wrong. And by wrong, I'm talking deadly and all too soon the body count starts going up. (As a side note you may not want to eat while reading some of the murders are a tad nauseating with post death descriptions.)

The closer Erica gets to finding answers or the illusion of answers the more dangerous her investigation becomes. And anyone as who's read the previous Newsmakers books knows Erica doesn't back down when it gets dangerous.

First off I have mixed feelings about this book - the story overall is good and it fits in well with current news stories. The violence is a little graphic for my personal tastes but I know it is nothing compared to some popular thrillers. Erica is a character with whom one can empathize with while at the same time shake your head at her career focused drive. The shift in voice can, at times, interrupt the flow of the story but once the reader gets used to it the flow evens out. This book doesn't lack for suspense or excitement so it most likely isn't a great just before bed choice if sleep can be elusive but if you don't mind skipping a little shut-eye time get ready for some news-worthy reading.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher through BookLook Bloggers with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
From New York Times bestselling author Lis Wiehl comes the final book in her Newsmakers series. Journalist and newscaster Erica Sparks is only planning to report on an explosive story—until she gets caught in the middle of it.

After getting the green light from her network to launch an investigative news show, Erica flies to Bismarck, North Dakota, to investigate Take Back Our Homeland, the largest secessionist group. What she finds is profoundly disturbing – a growing threat to the future of our union.

Back home, her husband Greg is drinking more and talking less—and taking an unusual interest in the glamorous author Leslie Burke Wilson. Erica’s teenage daughter has also begun acting out in troubling ways.

Then she discovers a potential informant murdered in her Bismarck hotel. Take Back Our Homeland might be even more dangerous than she had thought—and she’s unwittingly become one of the key players in the story. Her fear and anxiety escalate – for her marriage, her daughter, and her own life.

Bestselling novelist and former legal analyst for Fox News Lis Wiehl takes us behind the anchor’s desk in this gripping look at high-stakes reporting in a country torn apart.


Lies and Letters ~ Review

Lies and Letters
By Ashtyn Newbold

Charlotte Lyons absolutely knows she is superior to every unattached young lady who is seeking a husband (and every attached one, for that matter). And her younger sister Clara, don't make her laugh. But for some reason Charlotte has yet to be presented with an offer of marriage but she and her mother are certain that it will happen any day.

But when a sudden reversal of not only fortune but reputation threatens Charlotte's chances both she and Clara are sent to the desolate and unrefined northern coast in hopes of securing an unsuspecting and wealthy Earl. With nothing to recommend them Charlotte and Clara find themselves having to live a life far different than the one to which they've been accustomed to.  And to make matters worse their only hope of ever meeting the Earl seems to depend upon the good favor of some lowly fishing merchant - a James Wortham, who even smells of fish.

Determined to hide the truth of their circumstances Charlotte soon finds herself caught in a web of lies of her own making. And when Charlotte loses even more than she thought possible will she begin to see herself for what she truly is? Or will the lessons of her mother keep her from seeing beneath the surface?

I totally loved Ashtyn's previous book Mischief and Manors and if it is possible to fathom I think this book Lies and Letters just might be better. I know, totally shocking considering how thoroughly delightful the previous work was, right. But the depth of character of Charlotte, Clara, and James just makes this book something special. And in the words of Miss Bingley (Pride and Prejudice) "And their mother!" She is certainly no nominee for mother of the year.

Get ready for a delightful afternoon (and evening) of reading with a favorite cup of tea and perhaps a shortbread cookie or two. And see what unfolds as the lies grow, tangle and then come undone. Can her heart be broken before she makes the mistake of a lifetime? Or will everyone have to pay for the lies she's told herself?

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All expressed opinions are my own.



About the Book:
"That same ache I had been feeling for
weeks now blossomed inside of me,
bruised, bleeding, and broken.
Only now did I realize it was my heart."

After a season in London, Charlotte Lyons is still regrettably unattached. With her family’s finances in peril, she is sent away with her sister to a bleak coastal town where she is expected to pursue a wealthy Earl. Beautiful and talented, how could she possibly fail? But when her heart is captured by someone entirely unexpected, Charlotte finds herself caught up in a web of lies and intrigue. Between hardship and sorrow, she finds more than she bargained for, forced to choose between the life she once wanted and a new love she never imagined.

About the Author:
Ashtyn Newbold discovered a love of writing early in high school. Inspired by regency period romance, she wrote her first novel at the age of sixteen. Because she can’t vacation in her favorite historical time periods, she writes about them instead. When not crafting handsome historical heroes, she enjoys baking, sewing, music, and spoiling her dog. She dreams of traveling to England and Ireland. Ashtyn is currently studying English and creative writing at Utah Valley University. She lives in Lehi, Utah with her family.

~ A Wrinkle In Time ~

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle is one of my all time favorite books. I was delighted when I picked up my sister's copy and delved into this new world. A world of It Who Which and What. A world without individuality and uniqueness and world threatened by darkness. And now that world of words is about to come to life in a new way.



Synopsis: 

A Wrinkle In Time opens in US theatres March 9, 2018.

The film, which is an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and ultimately, the triumph of love.

Directed by Ava DuVernay from a screenplay by Jennifer Lee based upon the beloved novel by Madeleine L’Engle, “A Wrinkle in Time” is produced by Jim Whitaker and Catherine Hand with Doug Merrifield serving as executive producer. The film stars: Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Peňa, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, André Holland, Rowan Blanchard with Zach Galifianakis and Chris Pine and introduces Storm Reid.

Watch the teaser trailer for Disney's A Wrinkle In Time.






Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007)


Madeleine was born on November 29, 1918, and spent her formative years in New York City. She found her gift for writing at an early age developing stories, poems and journals and later went on to study English at Smith College. She married her husband Hugh Franklin and together they had three children and relocated to Connecticut. While her children were young L’Engle taught Sunday school for her church. Once her children were older she worked as a librarian at Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City where she held the position for nearly thirty years.

In 1962 she wrote A Wrinkle In Time and won a Newbury Award in 1963. The book has sold more than 15 million copies since its publication. She followed the successful debut with: A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time.

She also wrote a devotional titled: Glimpses of Grace: Daily Thoughts and Reflections.

L’Engle passed away at the age of 88 on September 6, 2007.


To read her interview with Christianity Today, please go to:

For additional information about her works including A Wrinkle In Time, please go to:

7.17.2017

The Cover Story ~ Review

The Cover Story
A Branigan Powers Mystery
By Deb Richardson-Moore

Don't let the cover of this book fool you - this isn't some mystery sleuth from the past. Branigan Powers is on the story of a present day accident that could have been a murder attempt if what Charlie Delaney says is true. But was Charlie the intended victim or was her now deceased passenger Janie Rose the target? Branigan is determined to find out and she has the perfect cover for all her sleuthing as a reporter for The Grambling Rambler.

But this time the story is personal with her niece involved. Could Charlie have truly been forced off the road by a 1950s hearse? And even more puzzling where did this particular vehicle come from?

But when another murder occurs and a link is found to a nearby university Branigan's investigation takes her into the world of sororities and Southern charm that may predate the hearse she's searching for. Branigan's best hope for a solid lead lies with a homeless man named Malachi Martin who knows how to be invisible while in plain sight.

This is a story that could very well make or break Grambling and all it holds dear. And those thinking of living the Greek college life may what to read The Cover Story first before embarking on such a path.

This book is set in the present day and there are suspects a-plenty but none seem to stand-out in such a way so as to make for an easy case.  The Cover Story just screams cover-up if a crime has indeed been committed. But the question is has a crime been committed or did Charlie's mind create something that wasn't truly there.

If you like mysteries that draw out the suspense give this book a try. Who knows maybe you'll determine the truth before Branigan Powers and the Grambling police department.

I was provided a review copy of this book, by the publisher, with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


About the Book:
A bizarre hit-and-run brings Branigan Powers back to the crime-solving beat

A fatal crash involving two college students heading home for the holidays seems like an unfortunate accident. But when the surviving girl awakens, she tells a curious story of the vehicle that forced them off the road--an old-fashioned, 1950s-style hearse.

Reporter Branigan Powers delves into the mystery that takes her to the college campus and leads her into dangerous fraternity and sorority pledge parties.

Reunited with the homeless Malachi Martin, who is so adept at seeing what isn't there rather than what is, Branigan must uncover what is really going on at the college before other students are put in danger.

This second installment in the author's cozy mystery series delves into the world of newspapers and life on the streets--both of which the author knows well.

7.16.2017

My Sister's Prayer ~ Review

My Sister's Prayer
Cousins of the Dove #2
By Mindy Starns Clark
       and Leslie Gould

The Talbot family saga continues with this My Sister's Prayer - the story is again a back and forth telling of the present day and 1704. Catherine and Pierre Talbot have prospered in the England since their escape from France. But when their daughter Celeste makes a hasty decision to leave all she knows behind for the promise of marriage in the colonies she sets in motion a chain of events that she never anticipated.

Celeste knows she has found the man she is to marry in Lieutenant Jonathan Gray. But when Jonathan is sent to a post in the American colonies Celeste agrees to follow him on the next ship. Indenturing herself Celeste holds Jonathan's promise close. But when she makes a most unexpected discovery - her younger sister Berta has somehow been forced on board - she fears whether or not Jonathan will be able to redeem them both.

In present day Virginia Maddee and Nicole Talbot are caught up in the past as they read through the letters of Celeste Talbot to her family that she left behind. As Celeste's story unfolds parallels are made to their own lives and relations as sisters. Nana has a special reason for wanting her granddaughters to read these letters now. But learning about their past isn't all that they are dealing with as Nicole with the help of Maddee and Nana recovers from an accident that nearly cost her her life.

As two sets of Talbot sisters deal with their unique situations and the choices that have brought them each to key moments in their lives they must learn to turn to God and the faith that has sustained them in the past. And the mystery that the modern Talbot cousins were involved with in the first book is continued in this one as the investigation continues. But can they truly discover the truth of what was hidden or will they continue to be haunted by their past?

This is the second book in the Cousins of the Dove trilogy and it is an interesting look into the past and how indentured servants came to the this New World. It would be interesting to know how many arrived on false promises.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.


About the Book:

Women of Fearless Devotion

Virginia, 1704

Celeste Talbot is usually such a sensible young woman—until she falls for an English soldier reassigned to the Colonies. Leaving her Huguenot family behind, she sets sail for America, only to realize that her younger sister Berta has been kidnapped and forced on board the very same ship. Whom can Celeste trust? The dashing soldier? Or the vigilant carpenter who remains by their side in the perilous New World?

Virginia, present day

Madeline “Maddee” Talbot has her hands full when she agrees to take in her younger sister, Nicole, following a serious car accident. The young women grew apart when Nicole fell into drug addiction, and Maddee prays this will be the start of a better life for her sister. But as they investigate a trauma from their childhood, Maddee must keep a diligent eye on Nicole—and the shadowy figure watching them from afar.

From the Christy Award-winning team of Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould, My Sister’s Prayer tells an epic tale of two women compelled to protect their sisters, confront their fears, and navigate the muddy waters of betrayal to find true love.